In December 2010, the State Records Committee approved a change to the required retention for expunged records. Whereas local government general retention schedules previously required that all expunged records be retained for 80 or 100 years or until the confirmed death of the subject of the record, the updated schedule allows for the destruction of expunged records according to the same schedule that would have applied had the record not been expunged.
The updated schedule is the same for Municipal Schedule 21-21, County Schedule 16-19, and State Schedule, Department of Corrections 1-14, with the following description: “A person who has been convicted of a crime may petition the court for an order to expunge records of arrest, investigation, detention, or conviction (UCA 77-40-103) (2010). To “expunge” means to seal or otherwise restrict access to records held by the agency that relate to the petitioner’s arrest, criminal investigation, detention, and conviction. (UCA 77-40-102(7)). A successful petitioner is responsible for distributing the court order to all affected agencies, so the agency may seal the records. An expunged record includes the sealed records along with the court order.”
The Expungement Act (UCA 77-40)(2010) outlines the process by which records can be expunged. Only certain criminal records are eligible, and the Utah Bureau of Criminal Identification (BCI) is the judge of eligibility. A person who wishes to get his or her criminal record expunged must take the following steps:
1. Make application to BCI
2. Take BCI’s confirmation of eligibility to the court to get a court order for expungement
3. Deliver the court order to each governmental entity that has records of arrest, investigation, detention, or conviction.
Once a governmental entity receives a court order to “expunge,” records must be safeguarded and not released to anyone except under court authority. If applicable, reference to the “expunged” record should be stricken from an index. “Unless otherwise provided by law or ordered by a court…a person who has received an expungement of an arrest or conviction…may respond to an inquiry as though the arrest or conviction did not occur.” (UCA 77-40-108(2)).